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‘Intelligence without Ambition is a Bird Without Wings’

14 April 2016

This quote by Salvador Dali was used by a number of Key Stage 3 students this week in their assemblies, which were based around the theme of ambition.  

  • Secondary Students

In PSHE lessons last term, students were challenged with producing a product that would encourage students to ‘Be Ambitious’.

In a series of special assemblies this week for Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 students, pupils have had the opportunity to watch the best entries in each form and to vote for the one that they enjoyed the most and which best encapsulated ways of encouraging ambition.

So why do we want our students to have ambition?  Our philosophy as a school is to encourage them to aim high, to take control and create the futures that they want to live.  In PSHE lessons, they’ve worked together to examine why it is important to reach for their dreams, to push outside their comfort zones, to be relentlessly optimistic; in a nutshell, to be the best that they can be.  Ambition can be about academic achievements, personal development, career aspirations, enriching experiences, making a difference, personal achievements or material possessions.   Students also investigated individuals who have been ambitious as leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, explorers, athletes and performers.

In lessons, to consider how to be ambitious, we examined ways in which we can be mindful, resilient, reflective and confident. We discussed ways of learning through collaboration, investigation, as well as learning independently or informally. Finally, we thought about thinking itself – strategically, logically, creatively and critically.  We also agreed that ambition is about shining, not out-shining others and it is about self-growth, self-development, self-expression and self-improvement. 

But ambition is only the beginning. Ralph Emerson said that ‘Without ambition, one starts nothing.  Without work, one finishes nothing’. Bill Bradley suggested that ‘Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle that you arrive in’.

This week we have seen some very innovative and creative videos, presentations and posters that students have produced in the last few weeks to express their own feelings about being ambitious.  Some students have recorded their journey of improving in a particular sport – Hinata and her coaches in Year 8 provided us with an excellent example of this in their video. Erin and Flora in Year 7 produced a great poster about people who have made a difference to society from very humble beginnings and Thomas, Joshua, Paulo, Duncan and Arush in Year 8 set themselves the ambitious target of reaching 500 hits on YouTube, with a series of clips about ambition. On Monday, Chiara, Yuen Ning, Efje, Yurim and Chloe in Year 9 presented their designs for an App on the theme of Being Ambitious. Silvia in Year 8 talked about being confident and how making new friends is a challenge that makes a difference to others arriving in the school community.

As you might expect, all of the products that we saw were of exceptional quality and demonstrated the creativity, intelligence and ambition of the students at BISS Puxi. This project and the philosophy of being ambitious underpin our Three Promises of a Warm Welcome, Academic Achievement and Exciting Experiences. Well done to all of the students in Key Stage 3 for their efforts and we look forward to learning the results for the best products next week!

Andrew Lancaster, Head of Secondary

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